International Business Center Newsletter
Volume 2 - Issue 2   

- Welcome to this issue of

   In this issue:

International Business Center Newsletter

Kim's ClassyTips Newsletter

We are happy to announce that one of our regular contributors, Kimberley Roberts (International Success Tips) has her own Newsletter called Kim's ClassyTips.

Kim is well qualified as she's conducted workshops and seminars that focus on the ABCs of Success and Confidence.

"Over the past 15 years I've helped thousands of women and men learn how to do the little things that produce big and positive results in their business, social, family, and personal lives"

What are the ABCs? Kim says, "Understanding the importance of your Appearance, Behaviors, and Communications in both business and social settings can make the difference between a career that's very successful and one that's not."

Kim's ClassyTips Newsletter is a collection of ideas, tips, and insights - powerful knowledge guaranteed to increase confidence, self assurance, and success.

Just CLICK HERE to receive Kim's ClassyTips each week - and best of all, it's free!

- Kim's ClassyTips - Helping you succeed

- International Success Tips
    by Kimberley Roberts

- IBC Focus - Getting Along Together?
  by Stephen Taylor, Director IBC

- IBC Global Resource Spotlight


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International Success Tips by Kimberley Roberts

Business Meeting Gifts - Part 1

Preparing for a business meeting requires a working knowledge of the information to be discussed or presented, careful attention to all details on the printed material to be distributed, and perhaps a gift. This gift is a social gesture that may be expected in some countries, and could be considered a bribe in others. Knowing the gift guidelines for the country you’ll be visiting will help make your meeting a success.

Some multi-national companies and some governments have very strict policies regarding their employees accepting gifts. To avoid creating a problem, it’s imperative you learn the policies for the companies you do business with.

Countries like Malaysia and Paraguay, concerned with corruption, frown upon any gift that could be construed as a bribe. In Malaysia you wouldn’t give a gift until you had established a relationship with the person. In Singapore, government employees are not allowed to accept gifts, and the United States limits the acceptable dollar value to $25.

However, in some countries like Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines, exchanging gifts is strongly rooted in tradition. Part of the tradition is the gracious style used to present and receive them. It’s important to plan time and focus on the process.

It’s very important in Asia and the Middle East to only use your right hand, or both hands, to offer or accept a gift. In Japan and Hong Kong, use both hands.

In Singapore a recipient may “graciously refuse three times” before accepting your gift. But in Chile, gifts are accepted and opened immediately. And in Indonesia, small gifts are given on a frequent basis.

Always be cognizant of religious laws when selecting gifts. For instance, pork is prohibited in the Jewish and Muslim religions, so you wouldn’t select a gift made from pigskin. As in India, don’t offer a gift made from cowhide. Another prohibition for the Muslim faith is alcohol.

A standard to keep in mind for any gift you select is quality. Choose quality items that are not ostentatious. If you have gifts with your company logo, it’s better if the logo is discreet. And don’t give company logo gifts in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Hosting a meal at a nice restaurant is always a good business practice. A fine dinner is a wonderful way to give a “gift to your hosts”, to show your guests you appreciate the business relationship you have with them, and an opportunity to build rapport. People in Brazil, England, Panama, and Peru enjoy being invited guests for a meal, and the Greeks look forward to an evening filled with dining. In China, plan a banquet, especially if you are being honored with one.

Next month I’ll discuss gift giving in greater detail by region and country, but following are some highlights to use.

If a country isn’t listed in a category, it means gifts may or may not be exchanged. Should you receive a gift, and don’t have one to offer in return, you will not create a crisis. However, this is a good reason for planning to host a meal. It becomes your reciprocal gesture.

Countries in which a gift is expected:

- Europe – Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Ukraine
- Latin American – Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica
- Pacific Rim – China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea,
- Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand

Countries in which a gift is not expected on the first visit, but would be expected on a subsequent visit:

- Europe – Portugal, Spain
- Latin American – Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama,
- Peru, Venezuela
- Pacific Rim – Malaysia, Singapore
- Scandinavia – Finland, Norway

Countries in which a gift is not expected, or gifts are less frequent exchanged:

- Africa
- Australia
- Europe - England, France, Hungary, Italy
- Latin America - Uruguay
- Scandinavia – Denmark
- Middle East – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia
- United States

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IBC FOCUS ARTICLE: Why Don't We All Just Get Along Together?
by Stephen Taylor, Director of the International Business Center

As the war in Iraq winds down and the reconstruction begins, there continues to be a high level of disharmony among Nations. Last month’s IBC Newsletter gave an overview of how religion and Geert Hofstede’s Dimensions correlate. In this month’s Focus Article we will look more closely at the World’s people in terms of cultural ‘groupings’, and how this may play a significant role in international disagreements.

For the purpose of this article, we will analyze the delta, or difference between Geert Hofstede’s Power Distance Index (PDI) and Individualism Index (IDV). We designed this comparative analysis to determine what, if any, distinguishing ‘grouping’ characteristics may be observed.

These two Dimensions were selected based on their combined contributed impact on a society or culture. However, before examining the results, let’s briefly review these two Hofstede Dimensions:

- Power Distance (PDI) focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, between people in the country's society.

- High Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. These societies are more likely to follow a caste system that does not allow significant upward mobility of its citizens.

- Low Power Distance ranking indicates the society de-emphasizes the differences between citizen's power and wealth. In these societies equality and opportunity for everyone is stressed

- Individualism Index (IDV) focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships.

- Low Individualism ranking typifies societies of a more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals. These cultures reinforce extended families and collectives where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group.

- High Individualism ranking indicates that individuality and individual rights are paramount within the society. Individuals in these societies may tend to form a larger number of looser relationships.

By subtracting the IDV ranking from the PDI ranking we generate either a positive or negative number, i.e. a country with high Power Distance and low Individualism will produce a higher net score. While a country with low Power Distance and high Individualism produces a lower net score. The actual positive or negative number is relative and has no correlation to good or bad, better or worse, in terms of this analysis.

Therefore, a high score on this combined index indicates a culture that is collectivist with inequality among the population. On the other end of the scale, a low score indicates a culture that is individualist with equality within the population. For example, although the United States has the highest Individualism ranking at 91, it also has a moderate Power Distance of 40, generating a net score of -51 (PDI – IDV).

On lower end of the rankings, New Zealand has an Individualism score of 79 and a Power Distance of only 22, thus a net score of -57.

On the upper end is Guatemala with an IDV of 6 and a PDI of 95, and a net score of +89.
The combination of these two Dimensions highlights the unequal and collectivist nature of the country.

By creating a ranking continuum, each country becomes ‘grouped’ near similar cultures, thereby more clearly differentiating each one.

The above Chart is produced here by an I-Frame link to the Website.

Country listing begins in upper left with Guatemala, then read across each row from left to right. Lowest score is New Zealand.

We have taken the results and created four groups of countries based on the combine PDI and IDV scores, as follows:

Group I
98 to 47

West Africa
El Salvador

Group II
44 to 25

Hong Kong
Arab World
South Korea
East Africa

Group III
20 to -26

Costa Rica
South Africa
Czech Republic

Group IV
-30 to -57

United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand

In reviewing the four 'groupings' above, Group I countries have a very strong Collectivist nature with a great deal of inequality among the members of the population. Groups II is more Collectivist with a moderate level of inequality, while Group III trends toward Individualism and equality. Finally, Group IV is predominantly Individualist and supports a higher level of equality between members of the population.

Based on this analysis, it could be anticipated that countries within a "Group" would tend to relate to each other more effectively than with members of other 'Groups' due to their basic beliefs about equality and social structure. It could also be anticipated that 'groupings' farther away from their own (i.e. Group IV relative to Group II or Group I) would have greater divergence and more difficulty in "understanding" each others cultural values - equality and social structure - Collectivism versus Individualism.

The purpose of this article is help international business people become more effective when working with people from other cultures. Having an understanding and appreciation for sometimes extreme differences is a critical first step in building better rapport and understanding.

As with all social-psychological studies and analysis, care must be taken when applying the results to any specific business or social interaction, as this information is based on generalized studies.

Global Resource Spotlight?

Each month we Spotlight a free resource for readers that focuses on Global business. This month's Spotlight is on Specializing in a broad array of business strategy articles and resources, including their FASTCOMPANY ONLINE GUIDES.

For those of us who tend to live on the Internet, GOOGLE is well known. Here's a FASTCOMPANY article titled How Google Grows... and Grows ... and Grows.

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About the International Business Center newsletter
The IBC Newsletter is sent monthly to international executives, managers, supervisors, and international business school students. The Newsletter focuses on issues, information, and trends of importance to conducting business on a Global perspective.

For more information and resources for Global Business visit our website at: International Business Center

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